Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Day 2 with a Middle Eastern theme

Reporting from MIPIM: First-year students in the Real Estate MBA program at Wisconsin are in Cannes this week attending MIPIM. It's a great opportunity for them to be immersed in the international real estate scene, to see classroom principles in action, and of course to network. One of our students, Bashar Elayyan, shares his experiences from Day 2.

It’s the start of a beautiful sunny day; the air is crisp and heavy with the salty smell of the Mediterranean. The suits are immaculate and sharply pressed, and the caffeine fueled real estate global community converges on the Palais for another exciting eventful day at MIPM.

My day so far has had a Middle Eastern theme as I attended a seminar entitled MENA: Opportunities and Challenges. The Middle East and North Africa remain to be active regions and the hall was packed with professionals eager to hear the state of the real estate sector in this important part of the world. The topic on everyone’s minds is the real estate meltdown in hotspots such as Dubai. Security, in the context of the Arab Spring, was discussed extensively. The lack of a legal framework that regulates and protects parties involved in the sector has also been a challenge to entry. Despite the obstacles facing MENA, it remains to be an attractive region with great potential for investors.

My next stop was to the Qatari pavilion which has generated a lot of buzz this year. Qatar has been dubbed the new Dubai but so far has progressed in a subdued and controlled manner. Doha’s skyline has changed and new cities are emerging out of the sand dunes. I attended a lecture by one of the architects responsible for the design of Lusail City. The topic of preserving national culture and heritage was extensively covered. The world is under threat of turning into a massive homogeneous landscape where national identity is lost in the name of modernity. Lusail City is an example where contemporary design was implemented in a way that conformed to the language and essence of the local culture within a theme of sustainability and green design.

That’s it for today, tomorrow I will be attending a lecture by the former foreign minister of Germany which will cover the state of politics and economics within the European continent.

Bashar Elayyan is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. As an architect based in Chicago, he was involved in the design and execution of numerous complex large scale projects in the U.S., Mideast and Chinese markets. His career aspirations lie within the domains of REIT management or real estate finance and investment banking.

Photo courtesy of MIPIM_World

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